Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne

In the world of Empire of the Covenant

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Deathly Flowers part 5

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Éldorine and Lyrienne's progression was faster this time, with their vegetal guides. Nothing dared interrupt them and bring themselves to the attention of such dangerous predators. The mud was still annoying, but after the attack, it was a mere minor inconvenience. 

It did not take long for their group to stop near the foot of a big tree.

Éldorine waited impatiently for an explanation for the plants' behaviour, but the two of them only waited, immobile, and she did not dare interrupt them when they were not behaving with hostility.

Finally, some movement near the tree trunk caught her attention.

Slowly, something moved from around the tree and came into the light.


An Alyssenne flower bearing a fruit, by AmélieIS.



Another flower. Only, its petals were half bitten off and shrivelled on themselves. When their group advanced, the flower reacted by half turning towards them, its petals briefly flittering open. A small, dark blue fruit was revealed at its centre, before the flower immediately turned away, its petals and sepias closing tightly around the fruit. Protectively.

Éldorine's heart squeezed. 

Was the fruit damaged?

The other flowers came forwards and fluttered around the one with the fruit. The pregnant flower. 

The only one.

Éldorine looked around, but apart from the two flowers who had led them here, only two tiny flower buds were hiding behind a bush. The Alyssenne flowers were rather mysterious, but she was quite sure that they did reproduce by rubbing their pistil and stamens together two at a time. There should be another one with a fruit.

Given the state of the flowers they could see, it was not hard to guess what had happened.


A family group of Alyssenne flowers with three partnered adults and two flower buds, by AmélieIS.



Éldorine had never given much thought to the murderous Alyssenne flowers, despite all the stories and the fact that her House owed them their emblem. Yet now seeing the three of them interlace their roots together and rub each other's petals, she was hit by a sudden wave of sympathy. 

Lyrienne's hand tightened in warning against her wrist.

She ignored him and freed herself from his grasp before stepping forwards. All three adult plants froze and turned their flowers in her direction. 

Éldorine stopped. She hesitated for a few seconds. Those were murderous flowers after all. In the end, she still kneeled and extended a hand towards them.

Alyssenne flowers had come to their rescue twice already—no matter how incidental it had been. This was really the least she could do.

With her hand extended forwards, she used a bit of raw magic to cut her fingertip. The plants seemed to hold their inexistent breath, before one of them moved. 

Despite the rapidity they had exhibited earlier, it inched its way slowly towards her. But it was impossible to mistake it for a frightened creature. Its gait rather had all of the predator approaching slowly so as to not startle a prey. She should take it for the warning it was.

But she did not move and instead let the dangerous predator come closer until it reached her fingers.

She could not prevent herself from stiffening when it cautiously rubbed its petals against them.

The touch sent a magical shock within her and her breath stopped. She found herself submerged under a sea of power. Her magical sensitivity abruptly heightened to new heights as the entire forest around her come into focus. Suddenly unknown scents teased her nose and sounds that had previously been hidden revealed themselves to her. Even the petals under her finger were softer than even Lyrienne silk, and she could not prevent herself from stroking them slightly.

She heard Lyrienne step towards her, but one of the other flowers fluttered its petals angrily in his direction and he stopped. However, she had no time to care about him when what was happening was so fascinating.

She could see her blood being slowly absorbed by the flower's petals, the aggregates of magic-binding protein that gave them their vibrant colour condensing and forming before her eyes. Those aggregates and those present in the base of the stem were what was giving the flowers their sentience. And they came directly from her blood. Those flowers were a part of House Alyssenne. A part of her family.

Finally, the petals were whole again. The plant marked a pause before slowly putting its fruit in contact with her hand. Éldorine could not repress a flinch when she became aware of the cut that was running along the side of its shell. Were the seeds really damage? She hurried to focus her magic in her fingertips so as to increase its content in the blood the flower was absorbing. The enhanced flow helped a blood clot form at the surface of the fruit. This was then slowly absorbed inside of it, leaving behind a new protective shell.

Éldorine released the breath she had been unconsciously holding.

The plant raised its flower and fluttered happily towards Éldorine's face. She felt her lips stretch in an involuntary smile before she could regain control of herself.

She rose from the ground. After such an intimate moment, she was not worried when the flower tightened its roots around her wrist, unwilling to let her go. In the end, it raised itself from the ground and wrapped itself tightly around her forearm, with the full length of the roots coming around her waist like a belt.

The two other flowers excitedly came forwards, using their roots to come to the same height as Éldorine's new accessory. They fluttered happily about their pregnant companion which was all too eager to smugly show off its newly healed petals and fruit.

However, after a minute of doing so, the two other flowers stopped and turned towards Éldorine, their petals taking a dejected turn. The way they were capable of projected human emotions was eerie. Still, when dangerous predators were asking a small service of you, it was only good sense to comply.

She renewed the cut on her hand and offered her blood to the flowers. Both jumped forwards, all unhappiness immediately forgotten. They rubbed their petals in her blood, slowly absorbing it in their body and regenerating themselves just as the first flower had done. And again, Éldorine was entranced by the communion they shared during those instants.

Once they were back in full health, both of the flowers swiftly moved their roots to grip Éldorine in a similar fashion to their companion. Now she was bearing flowers on both arms, like big gaudy bracelets.


She steeled herself before turning towards Lyrienne. But it was she who burst out laughing at the sight that awaited her. 

Lyrienne's lips pinched but he said nothing. He allowed the two small flower buds to continue climbing his robes. They settled on his shoulder and he sent a glare at Éldorine to shut her up. She did calm down but could not prevent herself from sending him a teasing smile.

He sighed in aggravation and stepped towards her. His hand seized her chin and titled it up before he pressed his lips firmly against hers. 

She let him kiss her for a few seconds until she managed to overcome her shock and pushed him away—though only slightly since he had snaked an arm around her waist in the meantime.

"What do you think you are doing?"

His intense expression melted into annoyance. "What do you think it looks like I am doing?"

She hissed wordlessly. "And who was it that was talking about our upcoming bonding with Arianie and the Southerling?"

"An undoubtedly very dead Arianie by now." The satisfaction was very clear in his voice and face.

"You are forgetting that he has a sister."

The annoyance was back on his face. "Come on Éldorine, you know very well Lady Arianie will never let her precious daughter be bonded to a foreigner, and there is certainly something to be said for strengthening alliance with your allies rather than play a gambit on ungrateful foreigners. In any case, now that they have broken the term of the parley in such a blatant manner and all for naught, a bonding between equal is out of the question. You might as well take me."

"What a splendid recommendation."

His hand tightened on her waist. She kept up her offended expression while she tried to think. He was not wrong. It had always been obvious that Arianie would make her daughter her heiress even if she was not the eldest, and with the political situation as it was, living at both the Arianie and the Alyssenne Estate at the same time would not be possible. And there was no way Éldorine would give up her own inheritance for the sake of the peace treaty.

What a shame that Heir Arianie was dead, really.

Éldorine grabbed Lyrienne by the collar of his robes and dragged him down towards her to kiss him.

He immediately reciprocated.

They only stopped when a spark of magic on their clothes made its unhappiness known.

Éldorine sprang back.

The two little flower buds on Lyrienne's shoulders wiggled their roots in what was obviously amusement. Her face heated up. A quick check reassured her that the three parents were much more patients and well behaved, still attached to her forearms, their petals turned curiously towards her face. One of them even raised a root to touch her cheek with its tip.

Lyrienne huffed and she looked back at him. His expression was soft and the smile he sent her slightly teasing. "You may have had a point. Now is hardly the best moment. Let us do what for we came here."

He turned away from her to carefully step towards the tree that had been shielding them during all this time. Éldorine startled as she suddenly took noticed of its flowers. The white petals with pink highlights were deeply familiar given how often she saw them on her companion's robes. A Lyrienne apple tree. 

And now that she knew to look for them, the golden apples hidden among its foliage were more than obvious.


A family group of Alyssenne flowers in the shade of a Lyrienne apple tree, by AmélieIS with images from Unsplash (apple tree, river, apple, and apple flowers).



She frowned suddenly uncertain. How could they distinguish the poisonous ones from those able to cure nearly all sickness? The whole point was that it was impossible, a gambit only left to the most foolish and desperate. Descriptors she would certainly not use for herself.

But Lyrienne did not immediately reach for an apple. Instead, he put his hand on the trunk of the tree and close his eyes.

Éldorine huffed a laugh. Of course. She was not the only one with a special link to this forest. Just as the Alyssenne flowers had been created from the blood of her ancestors, the Lyriennes had given birth to their apple trees. 

Now they had to wait to see if the tree would be as cooperative as the flowers.

She could not do anything else but stand there with all the patience she could muster. The Northerners may find them soon. The sea creatures may come back. Other dangers from the forest may find them. The ambassador may succumb to the poison. However, nothing could force a tree to move quicker than it wanted. 

A hard lesson she had had to learn while tending to the groves and orchards of her domain. Being the heiress of the Land gave her a special connection to all of the lifeforms that made it their home, although the Black Forest refused to recognise this rule of nature.

She occupied herself by looking at the flowers still attached to her arms. The three of them immediately started to preen under the scrutiny, fluttering their petals coquettishly and turning them here and there so as to better show off their colours. 

"You are all absolutely magnificent," she told them dutifully to their obvious pleasure.

Finally, the apple tree moved, bringing her attention back in its direction. It slowly lowered one of its branches towards Lyrienne until a group of apples was placed directly in front of him. Lyrienne raised his hand but was not foolish enough to pick one himself. His patience was recompensed when, after an additional minute, one of the apples detached itself from its shoot and fell into his palm. 

The branch slowly went back up but Lyrienne did not move his hand from the trunk for a few more minutes, obviously in deep communication with the tree. With her arms full of a bunch of murderous flowers, Éldorine had no room for complaint.

When Lyrienne ended up lowering his hand and turning away from the apple tree, his face was filled with a smug expression. 

It quickly turned into a frown as his eyes fell onto the flowers she was carrying.

He walked back towards her with a deliberately slow pace and stopped at her side. "Do you intend to keep them?" He was careful to retain a neutral tone. 

Nevertheless, the flowers stopped moving their petals, clearly listening intently to her answer. Éldorine knew that it had better be the one they wanted. But she had already made up her mind, anyway.

"Of course, I know just the thing to allow the imperial nobility the opportunity to admire them."

"Your father will not be happy."

Check out my world, the Empire of the Covenant, and the article that inspired this story The murderous Alyssenne flowers.
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